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Old 11-29-2012, 07:52 PM   #21
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My wife has never asked me what she needs to do if I
I fell overboard. She must know how much I'm insured for.
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:03 PM   #22
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My wife and I MOB drills a couple of times a summer. I'll toss a fender over the side and tell her we have a MOB, then sit back and see what she does. She's not real comfortable with boat handling yet, but getting there. She's OK with bringing the boat back to the MOB but still struggles with where to position the boat so the current doesn't just float her away from the fender.

Her level of competence (and confidence) with the boat handling is growing quickly and I suspect by next summer she'll be able to retrieve the MOB quickly.
Helping the admiral gain confidence in a crisis is the best reason for doing drills, and I really commend you for having the discipline to repeat the process. I'm inspired and will try to do the same with my admiral - she deserves it.

Incidentally, having dragged a half lifeless body on board I can attest that the hardest part is that lifting 175# of uncooperative human is really, really difficult to do, and not something that can be done by most females I know. Well, maybe Rosanne Barr, but no normal human female. That is hard to drill for, but some kind of system for dragging someone on board using mechanical means is absolutely necessary if a life is to be saved rather than a body conveniently tethered so it can be retrieved later.
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Old 12-01-2012, 06:24 PM   #23
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If you fell overboard, unhurt, would you rather have personal locator beacon or a waterproof VHF handheld? I am leaning toward a VHF. What do y'all think?
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:08 PM   #24
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if you fell overboard, unhurt, would you rather have personal locator beacon or a waterproof vhf handheld? I am leaning toward a vhf. What do y'all think?
vhf
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:49 PM   #25
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Both of us wear PFD's while underway. We run a practice drill at least once a seaon. However, we have not actually deployed the lifesling that we carry. We do have a St Croix crane attached to the transom with a 4:1 tackle arrangement. I suspect that we will do some more drills this season trying to determine how to get the MOB on board. Good points.
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:47 PM   #26
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I have a lifesling on the boat. If my wife falls overboard I believe I could get her aboard by the ladder on the swim platform.
If it is me overboard I'll probably wind up waving Bye bye.
Steve W.
That's about it for me too. My guess is that if we really do begin full time cruising next year, she still won't be ready for such an event. I've got twin 375 lb. davits and a swinging boom, each of which will have its own hand-crank winch mounted with more than enough reduction for her to lift me out. All I have to do is switch out the Lifesling for a hangman's noose, and I'm sure she will do her best to winch me out, even if only to watch me swing over the gun wales and smash against the side of the boat.
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Old 12-01-2012, 11:15 PM   #27
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I have a swim platform and swim ladder so it wouldn't be hard to get an uninjured person back on board.
As was mentioned, getting someone aboard can be incredibly difficult, and having a mechanical method to assist is critical, but also consider that folks are far more likely to fall overboard in less than ideal conditions. Trying to bring someone back aboard using the swim step can be deadly in any kind of seaway. As you get them close to the swimstep, it's likely it will be heaving up and down a lot. Should it come down on someones head, it's likely it will cause severe injuries. Retrieval methods are just one part of the entire process. Drills should start with a discussion of how to even determine if someone has fallen overboard. If it's just you and the wife, you need to be aware anytime someone goes on deck (wearing a life jacket in any but flat waters) The way we teach MOB drills in our training classes go something like this:

The person who sees someone fall overboard yells as loudly as possible "MAN OVERBOARD, MAN OVERBOARD, MAN OVERBOARD PORT SIDE" While doing this it's critical to do two other things, first throw anything that might float overboard to mark the spot and give the victim some to grab. Secondly, that person points to the victim at all times, until the driver has a clear view of the person in the water. Why? The average person floats with just a few inches of their head above the water. In anything but flat water, that person is only visible perhaps half the time, and pointing to them continuously is a big help in keeping them in sight. Once the driver has them in sight and is maneuvering the boat back to them it's time to get ready to bring them aboard. How you do that is dependent on your particular boat, but you must have this figured out prior to actually needing to do it, and you need to have more than one method if the first doesn't work.

So, what does the captain need to consider? Upon first hearing Man Overboard, he should hit the MOB button that's on most GPS units. Secondly he needs to determine the best way to reverse the course. On many twin screw boats boats it's quicker to stop, twin screw around and return to the victim. Simultaneously, he needs to broadcast a "Mayday" call if there is any chance the recovery phase will take more than a couple minutes. Calling for help ASAP is critical, you can always cancel the call later, but getting additional search boats in the area cam be the difference between life and death.

Once you have the person back aboard, what's your plan? Are they hypodermic? All wet clothing needs to be removed first thing. A warm sleeping bag will help rewarm them, but rapid rewarming can be deadly when cold blood from the extremity's reaches the heart it can cause a heart attack. Avoid heat packs or other rapid heating methods.

At all times it's good to be thinking about how you would react to different problems. What will I do if someone falls overboard, we have a fire, we begin flooding, or we go aground. Plan ahead..............Arctic Traveller
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Old 12-02-2012, 12:01 AM   #28
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Good points all, and thanks to Artic Traveler for expanding on the subject.
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Old 12-02-2012, 01:02 AM   #29
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If you fell overboard, unhurt, would you rather have personal locator beacon or a waterproof VHF handheld? I am leaning toward a VHF. What do y'all think?
Emergency locator. Satellites are always in view. VHF is just line of sight.
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Old 12-02-2012, 02:09 AM   #30
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I was involved in some MOB trials for a UK magazine some years back. It really opened my eyes on a number of points, so here are a few of the lessons we learned.
  • In anything but a flat sea, it can be really hard to see the casualty.
  • Therefore, the moment anyone sees someone fall overboard, the following is vital,
    • They must shout MOB at the top of their voice and keep shouting until acknowledged.
    • They must continuously point (outstretched arm) at the casualty and keep looking at the casualty without even a glance away. Taking eyes off even for a momnet can lose them.
  • Ensure you know how to bring the boat about efectively given the wind and sea conditions.
  • Do you bring the boat upwind to shield the casualty to shield them?
  • How to stop overshooting the casualty when coming alongside!
  • How not to run the casualty over!
  • Ensuring the props aren't turning ready to chop limbs off as the casualty struggles to get on board. The natural instinct appears to be to get to the transom/swim platform, whilst kicking legs into the props...
  • Question for the skipper - do you turn the engines off? Saves noise and diesel fumes neither of which are good in this type of situation.
  • How much the casualty is not listening to instructions - they are frightened and very likely panicking.
  • How HUGE the boat looks and how frightening it is to see it bearing down on you from water level.
Finally, getting the casualty to follow your instructions and hopefully stop them panicking means you need to inspire confidence which in turn means you need to know exactly what you are going to do to get them on board. Being in a cold sea is not nice in any way shape or form.

Since the casualty will naturally try to cling to the boat (and therefore swing their legs underneath), the best bit of kit for them to cling to is a form of handle rather than the end of a rope.

So, there you go. We all learned far more than we thought.
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Old 12-02-2012, 03:20 AM   #31
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This has really got my memory racing! There are the two scenarios. Is the MOB conscious or not?

Assuming that crew is limited to myself and my wife, we just hope the MOB is conscious. In this case, the Markus safety ladder (EN-Safety ladder) is a really great help. The unconscious situation is one we have yet to get to grips with if we are boating on our own.

One thing is certain. MOB is a full-on emergency and one where a distress call is vital. Modern DSC radios make it easier.
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Old 12-02-2012, 05:16 AM   #32
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Keep in mind that the MOB function on electronics will only take you back to where you pushed the button. Practice, practice, practice! Lose anything overboard on my boat and we will do a man overboard drill. My crew was shocked to see me go back for a little cooler that fell off the aft deck on my last boat in the Houston Ship Channel around midnight. We retrieved it after a J turn and some instructions to the crew, and saved it from being run over by a tow. It wasn't that close, but if would have been a person we would have saved their life. This is good practice because it happens with no warning.
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:38 AM   #33
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The handheld VHF would probably be best. It allows you to vector the boat back to you (assuming those on the boat are either paying attention to crew whereabouts or listening to VHF to begin with).

VHF will also broadcast to other vessels that may be able to help and you can vector them too.

A PLB would be great ...IF the vessel you fell off of didn't know you fell off. I would hope the vessel you are on is keeping better track of the crew and track line (even approximate is OK if you have a VHF and are still conscious) because that info would be almost the same as the PLB as long as it is timely.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:41 AM   #34
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[QUOTE= Do you bring the boat upwind to shield the casualty to shield them?Consider that bringing the boat upwind runs the risk of the boat being blown down and over the victim if there is much wind or current. It might be the best course of action, but be very aware of the danger. Practice this with a fender of other floating object and see what happens.

[LIST][*]How to stop overshooting the casualty when coming alongside![/LIST]Having a life ring with an attached line allows you to only get close enough to throw the ring, avoiding the danger of running over the MOB. Once you throw the ring and the MOB grabs it, you can slowly tow them to the boat. Beware though that it will be easy to pull the ring out of their hands due to a loss of strength from cold water. It would be best if they could pull the ring over their shoulders and get towed backwards. Life slings are great too, but must be towed to the victim as it can't be thrown. This takes practice and time. On our training trawler, we have several different retrieval apparatus's and practice with all of them. In my experience, having something to throw (rescue throw bags are great too) makes boat handling and fine positioning far less critical, and easier for those with less skill in handling a big boat. Remember, every second counts. Devise a plan and try it out several times to fine tune it.

  • How not to run the casualty over!
If you have another person to act as a spotter it will be a great help.





Finally, getting the casualty to follow your instructions and hopefully stop them panicking means you need to inspire confidence which in turn means you need to know exactly what you are going to do to get them on board. Being in a cold sea is not nice in any way shape or form.

These are all great ideas.....................Arctic Traveller
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:46 AM   #35
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Hi Arctic Traveller. The bit that always causes me concern is if the MOB is unconscious and there's only you left on board. What then?
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Old 12-02-2012, 12:16 PM   #36
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Hi Arctic Traveller. The bit that always causes me concern is if the MOB is unconscious and there's only you left on board. What then?
That is my greatest nightmare scenario too...
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Old 12-02-2012, 02:07 PM   #37
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Hi Arctic Traveller. The bit that always causes me concern is if the MOB is unconscious and there's only you left on board. What then?
FIRST THING, MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY, this is________ located at _______ (give your Lat / Lon) We have a man overboard who is unconscious and I am the only other person aboard. The Coast Guard will start asking a bunch of questions, but I'd cut it short and tell them you have to go and rescue the MOB, then leave the radio, remembering that every second counts, just make sure they have your correct location, and it helps if you can also give a geographic reference like "were about half a mile due West of Cape Caution". It helps other boats in the area to quickly determine if they are in a position to respond without having to plot coordinates on a chart.

Next you need to get a hold of the person somehow, and that will require some precision boat handling to bring the person alongside without running them over. Once they are within reach of a boat hook or perhaps a grappling hook and line (a bouy retrieval heaving line perhaps) you could hook them and pull them to the boat. (How you get them aboard will differ for each boat, but as you know, it will be really hard. The "Arm strong" method may work, but it's damn near impossible to drag even a 150lb person aboard by hand. Your best defense will be to practice this in advance and have some form of mechanical advantage. We have a 4 to 1 block and tackle with eyestraps at the stern. We also have a method to use the crane, which is our first choice. Hopefully your Mayday call will bring additional boaters to the scene to help out.

Should you still be alone with no help nearby, jumping into the water will a really bad idea as now you have compounded the problem, but it will be hard to resist the urge to do what ever you can to rescue a loved one. If you do decide conditions are conducive to jumping in and you see no other choice, at a minimum you need to have on a PFD with a line attached and the other end attached to the boat. Better yet would be a survival suit if you boat in cold water. (you do have them for all aboard don't you? You should be able to get in it in less than 60 seconds). Before you enter the water though, you better have a plan for getting back out, and the motors should be off. Climbing aboard in a survival suit will be damn near impossible, but in cold water, with out one, your going to be the second victim. You might rig that 4 to 1 in advance and leave the hook and bitter end in the water to grab when you get back. How you hook up to it needs to be determined in advance. My survival suit has a built in harness, as does my inflatable PFD. We also have a Lifesling that can easily be connected to the 4 to 1 to lift someone. However you do it make sure you try it out in advance...............Arctic Traveller
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Old 12-02-2012, 03:25 PM   #38
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When operating commercial boats, I instructed my crew routinely in MOB drills, as well as fire drills, and abandon ship drills. On the passenger vessels I operated we did those same drills during our USCG inspection process. Out of habit, I've done the same on my own boat whenever we have a group of guests/passengers who are aboard for the first time. On MOB drills, I introduce guests to an object (usually a PFD or fender) called "Mr. Man Overboard." Then I explain the steps (1) yell "Man Overboard." (2) Throw the Type IV PFD as close to the victim as possible. (3) Capt. appoints a spotter to constantly keep vicitim in sight while pointing at them. (4) Have crew standby with PFD and line in case they need to enter the water to assist victim. (5) Maneuver vessel to pick up victim as appropriate to sea conditions and vessel type. Not the most fun stuff to practice, but essential.
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:56 PM   #39
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As was mentioned, getting someone aboard can be incredibly difficult, and having a mechanical method to assist is critical, but also consider that folks are far more likely to fall overboard in less than ideal conditions. Trying to bring someone back aboard using the swim step can be deadly in any kind of seaway. As you get them close to the swimstep, it's likely it will be heaving up and down a lot. Should it come down on someones head, it's likely it will cause severe injuries.
Certainly that would be a concern. A survey of my marina shows that none of the boats have anything other than a swim ladder to get a person on board from the water and some don't even have that. Boats aren't required by law to have any means of bringing a person from the water on board.

Really, it's a matter of risk management. There's a big difference between putt putting up and down the AICW and boating in the open ocean off the coast of Alaska, both in the risk of going overboard and in the difficulty of getting back onboard.

I plan on giving this possibility more thought and discussing it with my wife. Also, I'll have a few practice drills with her circling back for a fender or something similar.

It's a great topic but the needs will be different for each of us, depending on our typical boating.
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Old 12-02-2012, 08:15 PM   #40
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Arctic Traveler's point about swim step banging down in MOB during recovery is a very good one. Coming along side to pick up means having the lifting rig on that side. We have a gate in bulwark on one side only, where I will install the attach point for the block & tackle. Using the roll of the boat will help get MOB on board again.

VHF when I go over the side. Mostly think I could alert my crew/wife that I am over the side. I know ch 16 will be tuned in the pilot house. When I declare Mayday on my hand held, others in the area will know the situation. I think this will get better response than from rescue control at satellite central(PLB). If I have my wits about me, I think I could talk her into coming back for me. I mean the "360 turn and the come out of gear before you get too close" part.
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